cubicle at work:
The Secrets of Heaven and Hell
The old monk sat by the side of the road. With his eyes closed, his legs
crossed and his hands foled in his lap, he sat. In deep meditation , he
Suddenly his zazen was interrupted by the harsh and demanding voice of a
samurai warrior. "Old man! Teach me about heaven and hell!"
At first, as though he had not heard, there was no perceptible response from
the monk. But gradually he began to open his eyes, the faintest hint of a
smile playing around the corners of his mouth as the samurai stood there,
waiting impatiently, growing more and morge agitated with each passing
"You wish to know the secrets of heaven and hell?" replied the monk at last.
"You who are so unkempt. You whose hands and feet are covered with dirt.
You whose hair is uncombed, whose breath is foul, whose sword is all rusty
and neglected. You who are ugly and whose mother dresses you funny. You
would ask me of heaven and hell?
The samurai uttered a vile curse. He drew his sword and raised it high
above his head. His face turned to crimson and the veins on his neck stood
out in bold relief as he prepared to sever the monk's head from its
"That is hell," said the old monk gently, just as the sword began its
In that fraction of a second, the samurai was overcome with amazement, awe,
compassion and love for this gentle being who had dared to risk his very
life to give him such a teaching. He stopped his sword in mid-flight and
hie eyes filled with grateful tears.
"And that," said the monk, "is heaven."
When looking at it this morning I thought to myself, "If one feels one is in
hell, one merely needs to stand up, open the door, and leave."